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Security is only one of the arguments for invasion of privacy. here in the UK, "streamlining" and "efficiency" seem to serve just as well. Witness the lately announced MIAP examination pass database - a permanent public record of everyone's exam passes, whose primary purpose seems to be to engage government in a "war on cheating" by job applicants.

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Creating downloadable prezi, be patient.

Ironically, today, psychiatry's own official label bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, does not refer to the phrase "mental illnesses," but to mental disorders. Even inside the DSM, which psychiatry generally believes albeit falsely to be scientific, they do not use the phrase "mentally ill" in diagnosing, so it is actually scientifically impossible, by psychiatry's own standards, to be officially "diagnosed mentally ill."

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In May 2012, MindFreedom led a peaceful protest of 200 marching in front of the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, protesting the DSM and even ripping up our labels. You can see photos and videos .

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UK gov issued 250k phone tap licences in nine months

There is no security. Not really. There is only management of risk. Now, how likely is it some terrorist will go to a random suburb and blow up your house? Not very, yet people have gotten so frightened mostly by the US government rhethoric that they actually think measures should be put in place to defend against such acts and are willing to give up their privacy to see it done.

Another thought struck me when I was reading your post.

It's ludicrous and impossible, yet people are blithely willing to let the entire country go down the toilet, abandoning the core values of liberty and privacy for no real gain at all.

The debate isn't security versus privacy. It's liberty versus control.

I dunno, Eugene Stoner came up with some pretty cool technology ...

Having read all of the comments, I would like to add:
I think to a degree people are kind of missing the point. Bruce is talking about control. Think of all the minute ways in which the powerful and corrupt [be it government of free enterprise] have control over your life. Can you drink legally in public? You can in just about every other "democracy" in the world. How about the news? TV programs? Education?
Of course the last one is the key, several comments were made about the collective ineptitude of the voting public with regards to Bush and rights, etc. It is no coincidence. The "neo-con" movement have been targeting education for de-funding since the 60's. This is no conspiracy, they knew then, that an uneducated or under-educated electorate is more easy to control. Hence, why the corporate media is not held to it broadcasting agreements of providing for the public good, they are "censoring" news that is unfavorable to corporations and those in control.
Control [power] is the motivating factor in all of this, security is the anti-thesis of terrorism, it is a weapon or a shield depending on your point of view. I WOULD argue that most screening is irrelevant. Aside from TNT connected to a clock, or a gun on my person there is virtually nothing stopping a motivated individual from acting. An analogy I recently used: A gun in the hands of a cop is good, a gun in the hands of murderer is bad. Why are we looking for the gun, not the murderer?

Ran into an amusing cartoon that explains the difference between the two concepts quite well:

CMV Status (All donors test CMV-IgM Negative):

The government is turning its scrutiny on the people it is supposed to serve, while shielding its own doings from public scrutiny. As the people lose their privacy, the government gains privacy for itself.

The false dichotomy of security vs. privacy assumes that security is someone else's responsibility.

It covers the essence of the current problem very concisely.

And that's not even touching on the other ugly consequences of that fear mongering, such as the concentration camp the US now runs in Cuba, out of sight and out of mind... sheesh.